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Free as a Seabird!
By CARL WEST
Comfortably nested between Gulf Boulevard and the beach, right on the border separating Madeira Beach and Redington Shores, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary definitely qualifies as one of Central Florida's most charismatic hidden spots.

Host to more than 159 bird species, the sanctuary proudly shares that more than 80% of it's patients that survive the first 24 hours are successfully treated and released back to the Florida wildlife. In 2002 alone more than 10,000 birds were brought in to the sanctuary, a statistic only possible through a team of more than one hundred volunteers and qualified professionals.

Claiming to be the largest nonprofit wild bird hospital in the United States, the sanctuary was founded in 1971 by zoologist Ralph Heath. To this day the sanctuary continues to be among the utmost in avian rehabilitation centers worldwide.

More than a bird hospital, the Suncoast Sanctuary is an endearing spot along a most majestic coastline. Offering free admission, ample free parking and access to the beach, it's permanent residents and uninvited overnight guests put on shows that rival Central Florida's larger theme parks. "We get tons of wild birds that fly in for the night hoping for a free meal" says Phyllis Molnar, a long time volunteer. "Then there's pelicans during mating season, they make a racket!" adds Molnar.

The sanctuary has received numerous accolades from the media having been featured in The New York Times, ABC's 20/20 and The Today Show on NBC. Over 100,000 visitors flock to the Suncoast Sanctuary each year and thanks to donations, it will remain an extraordinary free attraction for years to come.

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
http://www.seabirdsanctuary.org
18328 Gulf Blvd.
Indian Shores, FL 33785
(727) 391-6211

View Bird Sanctuary pictorial by Daniel St.Pierre >>

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Riding shotgun!
BY BRUNO LEVINE
Rocky is a 9 year old bull terrier with an attitude. He only eats people food, sleeps on the bed with mom and dad and, Rocky rides shotgun.

Frank Silverstone owns a bright yellow '59 Chevy Impala rag top which he likes to take out on occasion. Each occasion usually features a sunny day, a cold drink and his happy pooch.

Rocky and Frank have become popular icons along Clearwater's Beach Blvd where they like to cruise to the cheers of other drivers and pedestrians alike. "Seems pretty much everyone loves little Rocky, and the car too I guess!" says Silverstone, an ex-Army Staff Sergeant now enjoying his retirement in Largo, FL.

Frank and Anne, his wife of thirty-two years live a peaceful life by the Gulf. You wouldn't know it form looking at him but it turns out little Rocky is a millionaire. How? Well as luck would have it Rocky's previous master died in a boating accident and left his fortune to his favorite companion and best friend. Is it legal? Of course it is. Is it ethical? Little Rocky seems to think so...

If you enjoyed this article, try this one too >>

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